Monday, April 14, 2014

Is butter healthy

For decades it was believed butter and coconut oil where bad for heart health; but thankfully, recent studies will hopefully change the hard nosed stance the American Heart Association* (AHA) continues to take. Until then, I for one am thrilled to see studies being conducted and confirming what many in the health industry have suspected. Besides, both butter and coconut oil tastes far better than does trans-fat margarines and vegetable oil, which is often soybeans; and we know that's not good! 

Still not convinced?  Here's four reasons why you should ditch butter alternatives; and to learn more about coconut oil, here's a great article.

1.  Vitamin K is crucial for overall body health and Grass-fed butter is a rich source of it.

2.  Practically every bodily function needs Vitamin A to work correctly. It's also an excellent antioxidant, which is known to help fight cancer and diseases. 

3.  Grass-fed butter is also rich in Vitamin E, another cancer fighting antioxidant. It's crucial for eyes, heart and brain health.

4.  Although in trace amounts, butter contains important B vitamins such as folate, B12, pantothenic acid, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. Vitamin B helps the body metabolize food into energy.  

Now, not all butter and coconut oil are equal. It's best to purchase grass-fed butter and virgin coconut oil because grass-fed butter is produced by cows consuming phytonutrient vegetation, and therefore, butter from grass-fed cows are more nutrient superior than conventional butter; and virgin coconut oil is high in lauric acid, meaning its saturated fat is considered a medium-chain fatty acid and unlike other saturated fats, studies in both animal and human suggest intake is neutral, if not beneficial on cholesterol levels. For further reading, Mark's Daily Apple has a well researched article on the differences between grass-fed and grain-fed butter. 

*It is important to mention that AHA recommends saturated fat intake should not exceed 7 percent of total daily calories. I have found when butter or coconut oil are used, less is required compared to liquid fats, and therefore, it's easier to reduce total daily intake. Furthermore, while these studies continue, common sense is crucial for overall health. We need a diet rich in a variety of fruit and vegetables, so it makes sense we need more than one type of oil in our diet, especially since each healthy oil has its own special nutrient makeup. There are a variety of healthy oils to enjoy such as walnut, avocados and olive to name just a few.